There’s no doubt that online networking exponentially grows your connections and relationships, and by association, increases your number of referrals, partnerships, collaborations, and ultimately, sales. It increases the number of industry experts you have access to and opportunities for growth like never before. And just as importantly, building a strong online network can empower you to increase your expertise and profile, growing the number of people you assist, serve and inspire in the world.
So what are the benefits of online networking and how does it compare with face-to-face traditional networking events?
Online Networking can expand your international ‘Rolodex’ – It’s time to open up your opportunities for global connections. Imagine having relationships with organisations across multiple countries around the world. What could that mean for your business? With opportunities for sales channels through multiple partnerships and collaborations, a global Rolodex could be your most valuable possession increasing the visibility of your brand in a diversity of markets. With traditional networking, you can be limited to events in your city or even immediate area. While it’s still important to continue to grow local relationships, online networking can open up your connections and markets like never before. A higher number of influential relationships can increase your credibility while giving you an understanding of how you can assist and serve more and more people with your unique products or services. Consider the benefits of your business expanding through international connections. It’s definitely worth exploring.
Online Networking is convenient and less stressful – There’s a huge advantage to attending an event from the comfort of your home office. Grab a coffee, comb your hair, and your authentic self is ready to engage without the stress of traveling to a physical event. When we are attending a face-to-face event, we are more likely to spend extra time on our appearance, which for many is a stress factor in itself. Then, there is the traffic or public transport to deal with. You wonder if you’ll get rained on, whether you’ll get there on time or even find a parking spot, all while over-thinking who might be there and if your pitch is up to standard. You arrive at the event, stressed before you’ve even walked into a room full of people you don’t know. The comfort of your home office means you can have your pitch in front of you, you’re not stressed out by the travel, and you can relax into the conversation at your convenience. Online events mostly stick to their schedule too, so an hour event is very usually just that – an hour. This offers opportunities for a larger number of networking events in less time! When you consider the travel time and chatting to business owners at physical events, an hour meeting can easily turn into 3-4 hours (or more) of your time, which, if done regularly a couple of times a week, can take a toll on your business.
Online Networking is low cost – Physical networking events have overheads. Attending these events means you often contribute at least enough to cover the cost of the meeting room, tea, coffee, and water. Sometimes, breakfast, morning tea or lunch are provided with an associated cost. Compare that to online networking, where costs are extremely low. There are sometimes charges to join events online if industry leaders are presenting with specific groups and organisations, but mostly, online networking events are free or based on a small monthly subscription.
Online networking is less intimidating, with opportunities to connect with influencers in your industry – The dynamics of networking online and face-to-face are different. At physical events, walking into a room full of people can be intimidating. Approaching and interacting with industry professionals and influencers can be limited for some people in a physical meeting. This is not the case online. In theory at least, everyone has equal representation during an online meeting, with an air of democracy not regularly seen at physical events. This allows for higher engagement with key professionals online. And with the increased activity over the last 2 years, with many of us working from home, we have learnt some online etiquette, i.e. not talking over one another, which allows for everyone to have a certain amount of time to speak.
So with all these benefits, it’s easy to see why Online Networking is an essential tool you can easily integrate into your marketing plan on a regular basis. As with all marketing, results can happen quickly or take time to come to fruition. With statistics showing that 85% of new business comes from ‘word of mouth’ referrals, networking is imperative to business growth, and online networking opens up a whole new perspective for national and international expansion.
It’s important, therefore, to remember Jim Rohn’s quote that ‘you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.’ Being part of a community or networking group you are aligned to, with similar values and goals, can open up opportunities you never imagined. Scalepreneurs is a networking community platform specifically developed to support businesses to scale globally.
With access to influential, inspiring and motivational business leaders, speakers and organisations across the globe, being aligned with Scalepreneurs can put you on the pathway to exponential growth.